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Old 10-31-2018, 09:17 PM   #1
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2018 16' Sport
Gig Harbor , Washington
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2018 Bambi prewired Zamp outlets don't appear to work

We largely boondock so solar power is key for us. We initially purchased a portable solar panel which we connect through the prewired Zamp connection on the trailer tongue. This works great, plug and play.

We decided to install a 100 Watt panel on the roof as well to aid with charging while we travel. This panel did not come with a Zamp connector so I purchased a Zamp adapter for it. Using my multimeter I am showing good output directly from the new panel wiring as well as from the Zamp adapter itself but when I plug it into any of the three rooftop Zamp connections it is not providing any power to the Bambi.

Any ideas? These connections should be plug and pay correct, I don't need to take any additional steps to activate them do I?

Thanks for any ideas!
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Old 10-31-2018, 09:40 PM   #2
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Zamp panels are wired opposite to most other panels. I needed a Zamp ‘crossover‘ plug to get non Zamp to work.
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Old 10-31-2018, 10:03 PM   #3
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Did your trailer have a factory solar system installed? If not, you need to locate the other end of the solar pre wiring, install a solar charge controller and connect it to the positive bus bar.

The portable probably has a built in solar controller, so it works.

Happy trails,
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Old 10-31-2018, 11:25 PM   #4
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Thanks

Adapter does the reversing of power automatically but I'm pretty sure the solar charge controller hit the nail on the head, thanks!
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Old 11-01-2018, 12:29 PM   #5
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you need to install a controller, and hook up the prewiring to the controller, and the battery terminal. you can find the prewiring (and battery terminal) under the dinette seat. the solar wires are green and yellow. there's a wood panel under the seat that you can attach the controller to (without drilling into the skin of the trailer). look at the attached pic. feel free to contact me if you need more info.

the pic is of the install on my 16er. if you're going to do it yourself be sure that the controller is hooked to the battery first, before hooking up the panel (or just keep the panel unplugged on top of the trailer until everything is wired)

best!
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Old 11-01-2018, 02:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rossdn View Post
Adapter does the reversing of power automatically but I'm pretty sure the solar charge controller hit the nail on the head, thanks!


So did you not have a factory solar controller?
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Old 11-02-2018, 08:39 AM   #7
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Use of roof mount and portable solar

Quote:
Originally Posted by rossdn View Post
We largely boondock so solar power is key for us. We initially purchased a portable solar panel which we connect through the prewired Zamp connection on the trailer tongue. This works great, plug and play.

We decided to install a 100 Watt panel on the roof as well to aid with charging while we travel. This panel did not come with a Zamp connector so I purchased a Zamp adapter for it. Using my multimeter I am showing good output directly from the new panel wiring as well as from the Zamp adapter itself but when I plug it into any of the three rooftop Zamp connections it is not providing any power to the Bambi.

Any ideas? These connections should be plug and pay correct, I don't need to take any additional steps to activate them do I?

Thanks for any ideas!
Our 2017 International Serenity 27B was built with 160 watts of factory solar. It also has the Zamp portable connector on the A-frame. Unfortunately, as configured by the factory, our portable 160 watt Amp unit will not work in conjunction with the roof mounted solar.

The two units' controllers detect each other and they both shut down. After extensive research through Zamp, Airstream, and the dealership, it was concluded that the only way to make the roof and portable units work together was to add a second plug for the portable unit. This plug has been fished through the external refrigeration side vent for connection to the portable unit. Wiring then runs up through the roof vent and then connects to the roof mounted 3-connector solar plug, which is also where the 2 roof mounted solar panels are also connected. You will then have to bypass the portable Zamp controller. In this case, I've simply used a Zamp extension cable, which will plug directly into the 160 watt portable unit wiring. (I purchased 2 Zamp extension cables, which allows for more ease in positioning the portable unit to hit sunlight in shady campsites. Zamp only recommends use of a 1 extension cable, but you will not be using the portable units' own cable when you bypass the controller. This results in total cable length being the same as specified by Zamp with a single extension cable.

This configuration does work. While it makes no sense that the A-frame plug will not support a portable unit with factory installed roof solar, Airstream corporate services confirmed that this was their recommended solution.
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slackerchef View Post
you need to install a controller, and hook up the prewiring to the controller, and the battery terminal. you can find the prewiring (and battery terminal) under the dinette seat. the solar wires are green and yellow. there's a wood panel under the seat that you can attach the controller to (without drilling into the skin of the trailer). look at the attached pic. feel free to contact me if you need more info.

the pic is of the install on my 16er. if you're going to do it yourself be sure that the controller is hooked to the battery first, before hooking up the panel (or just keep the panel unplugged on top of the trailer until everything is wired)

best!

How many watts is the solar panel on your 16er with that charge controller?
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:24 PM   #9
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you need to install a controller, and hook up the prewiring to the controller, and the battery terminal. you can find the prewiring (and battery terminal) under the dinette seat. the solar wires are green and yellow. there's a wood panel under the seat that you can attach the controller to (without drilling into the skin of the trailer). look at the attached pic. feel free to contact me if you need more info.

the pic is of the install on my 16er. if you're going to do it yourself be sure that the controller is hooked to the battery first, before hooking up the panel (or just keep the panel unplugged on top of the trailer until everything is wired).

I have 2 panels on my 16er, an 80w and a 50w (panels must be within .7v to use together)

best!
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Old 02-01-2020, 01:54 AM   #10
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mismatched solar panels cant be put in parallel, series is ok

to use multiple mismatched panels, each needs its own solar controller
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Old 02-01-2020, 12:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waninae39 View Post
mismatched solar panels cant be put in parallel, series is ok

to use multiple mismatched panels, each needs its own solar controller
Here's a great explanation of mixing solar panels: https://solarpanelsvenue.com/mixing-solar-panels/
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Old 02-01-2020, 12:29 PM   #12
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Hi

The typical "Zamp Connector" on your typical Airstream ( the one by the battery box) is nothing more than a couple of wires to the battery. There is no charge controller there is nothing "solar" about it. Just wires (and a fuse) to the battery. Whatever you hook to those wires needs to be able to deal with a battery. A solar panel by it's self will not / can not do this.

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